TEFAF Maastricht 2022 (photo by Michael Adair, courtesy TEFAF)

At around 11:30am today, June 28, four sharply dressed armed robbers breached the European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF) art fair in the Dutch city of Maastricht, used a sledgehammer to break a display case, and made off with items of jewelry.

Visitors were evacuated and no one was injured, according to a TEFAF statement shared with Hyperallergic. The fair has since reopened.

In a video posted on Twitter by Dutch journalist Henrik-Willem Hofs, one of the thieves is seen using a sledgehammer to break a glass display case while two others stand guard. Both appear to be holding guns. A third armed man becomes visible at the end of the video, and then the four run out of the fair. The robbers were wearing suit jackets and flat caps and their faces were uncovered.

According to the Associated Press, Dutch police said they arrested two Belgian men, ages 22 and 26, en route to the Belgian border. The police also said that the robbers had succeeded in stealing jewelry, but they did not specify which objects.

Another tweet by Henrik-Willem Hofs includes images that capture the smashed display case, as do more photos posted on Twitter by the French-language art publication La Tribune de l’Art.

A spokesperson for the fair told Hyperallergic: “TEFAF has robust procedures in the event of a security breach. These were precisely followed, and all visitors, exhibitors and staff were safely evacuated.”

TEFAF is a prestigious international art fair that showcases both jewelry and fine art. It is slated to close Thursday, June 30.

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Elaine Velie

Elaine Velie is a writer from New Hampshire living in Brooklyn. She studied Art History and Russian at Middlebury College and is interested in art's role in history, culture, and politics.

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